One thing that Facebook proved to the world like nothing else is the power out words can have when typed in plain English. The inability to convey real feelings and emotions often makes it difficult to know what kind of angle to approach an online statement from, which has in turn led to fall-outs, the breakup of marriages and all manner of mayhem.
Now, one teenager from Texas by the name of Justin Carter has found out the hard way just what can happen when the comments you make online are picked up on by others. The 19-year-old is today behind bars in a San Antonio prison cell and is facing a lengthy sentence if found guilty on the charges he faces.
And as far as he himself is concerned, the comments he made on Facebook were only ever meant to be interpreted with sarcasm.
He faces the charge of threatening terrorism and could technically be handed down eight years in the slammer if found guilty.
His time in prison is already taking its toll and it’s been confirmed that he’s been put on suicide watch around the clock.
“He’s very depressed. He’s very scared and he’s very concerned that he’s not going to get out. He’s pretty much lost all hope,” Jack Carter, Justin’s father told CNN reporters.
Things kicked off a while back when Justin was playing a video game called “League of Friends” and ended up in an argument with a fellow Facebook user.
“Someone had said something to the effect of ‘Oh you’re insane. You’re crazy. You’re messed up in the head,’” his father told CNN.
“To which he replied ‘Oh yeah, I’m real messed up in the head. I’m going to go shoot up a school full of kids and eat their still-beating hearts.’”
According to official court reports, the teenager’s Facebook comment actually stated: “I’m f****d in the head alright. I think I’m a shoot up a kindergarten and watch the blood of the innocent rain down and eat the beating heart of one of them.”
He then added the ‘LOL’ and ‘J/K’ abbreviations in order to confirm that he wasn’t serious and was instead making a joke – albeit a rather ill-conceived one.
The comment was picked up on by a Canadian woman who subsequently informed the local authorities. Justin was then arrested and has been held in custody ever since.
“I thought it was a joke. I couldn’t believe the person that called me. I kept telling them they have to be kidding. When I realized he wasn’t, I literally broke down crying,” his father stated.
Debate has since raged as to whether this particular teenager is being deliberately made an example of by law enforcement authorities to serve as a warning to others, as supporters of Justin Carter have labeled the whole incident a ridiculously over the top pantomime. Even his lawyer has lashed out at the courts for setting his bail at $500,000 which is more than three-times what is often demanded for murderers and rapists.